The Dewey Decimal System
After a flu pandemic, a large-scale terrorist attack, and the total collapse of Wall Street, New York City is reduced to a shadow of its former self. As the city struggles to dig itself out of the wreckage, a nameless, obsessive-compulsive veteran with a spotty memory, a love for literature, and a strong if complex moral code (that doesn’t preclude acts of extreme violence) has taken up residence at the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.
Dubbed “Dewey Decimal” for his desire to reorganize the library’s stock, our protagonist (who will reappear in the next novel in this series) gets by as bagman and muscle for the New York City’s unscrupulous district attorney. Decimal takes no pleasure in this kind of civic dirty work. He’d be perfectly content alone amongst his books. But this is not in the cards, as the DA calls on Dewey for a seemingly straightforward union-busting job.
What unfolds throws Dewey into a bloody tangle of violence, shifting allegiances, and old vendettas, forcing him to face the darkness of his own past, and the question of his buried identity.
With its high body count and snarky dialogue, The Dewey Decimal System pays respects to Chandler, Hammett, and Jim Thompson. Healthy amounts of black humor and speculative tendencies will appeal to fans of Charlie Huston, Nick Tosches, Duane Swierczynski, and Jonathan Lethem.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Larson uses clichés from detective stories to tell us a story about his love of New York and the vulnerability of society today.